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Follow Your Dream, Day #305: Awakenings Past and Present

Think of your favorite moments from any Irish dance show you've ever seen. We'll bet the following two facts are true for the vast majority of you:

1.) At least one opening number comes to mind.
2.) It was choreographed by Michael Flatley.

Michael Flatley's formula for a successful signature Irish dance number can be seen all the way back where he first invented the genre, in 1994 at Eurovision: a slow and mysterious opening, followed by a female slip jig, a male hardshoe solo featuring unique movements atop Irish dance, and then finishing with a massive group hardshoe number.

The magic is in the combination and assembly of these elements. As Michael said to Lord Melvyn Bragg on The South Bank Show in 1997, "You can't have a good army without a good general, and you can't have a good general without a good army....It can't be all speed. It can't be all in-your-face. And it can't be all soft."

Today we take this formula for granted. But remember, twenty-five years ago, no one had ever heard of a professional Irish dance show, and the entire concept sounded laughable. The only person who had this idea -- completely visualized and ready to create, honing it after decades of toil in obscurity -- was Michael. Hence why today he towers over the entire genre: because he literally invented the thing, and its most successful entries have him as their creative force.

Which brings us to Awakening - Cry of the Celts. This number has changed and evolved over the decades -- the slip jig formations are different, the Little Spirit's choreography is wildly enhanced, the lead's solo starts from stage left and has new rhythm patterns, etc. -- but the core of it is still the signature Flatley formula. As Michael said when creating the Feet of Flames World Tour twenty years ago, you have to give people a mixture of elements that are new and also still enough of the famous bits that got you to the top.

For this video, we decided to try a bit of a time lapse: we're combining the 2014 version of Dangerous Games' Awakening with footage and raw audio we streamed live to Dancelord TV ( in 2020, cut somewhat in the style of the older commercial videos from the nineties. The end result is a whole new perspective on this amazing number, which we hope encourages you to go back and rewatch the truly magical Dangerous Games video from 2014.


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